Open Educational Resources (OER): Defining OER

Find and USE an OER

You don't have to customize and modify OERs. Use them as is!

Use all or some of the content ...
it is up to you.
There are tools to help you evaluate OERs.

Need Help?

What is Open Source?

This term originated to describe open software and open computer code.

Open Source is used to describe the open copyright licensing of computer software or code. "Software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance."

Open Source by CC BY-SA.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Education Resources(OER),
Open Access and Open Source

Terms used for content that the creators have chosen to share with an open copyright model of licensing.

OPEN ... Free. The resources can be used,  copied and shared without permission or fees, as opposed to the traditional "all rights reserved" approach to copyright ownership, where the creator sells their work and requires permission for copying and use outside of purchasing.

Credit the creator! Open doesn't mean no attribution. Attribution and agreeing to share the content forward are usually requirements for use of OER material.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Any type of educational teaching materials created with an open copyright license.

Key Features:

  • Free to legally copy, use, revise, adapt and re-share.
  • OERs can include a variety of teaching materials including curriculum, course outlines, textbooks, teaching notes, assignments, tests and projects.
  • Not format specific -- can include digital, audio, video or animation. The native format is digital but print copies can be made.
  • Attribution and sharing the content are almost always requirements


  • True OERs are free of most copyright and licensing restrictions
  • Terms of Use statements or a Creative Commons (CC) license provide guidance on how the content can be used.
  • Creative Commons (CC) licenses ~ help creators license their content with sharing models to choose from. Note: Not all CC licenses meet the conditions of an OER.
  • Check license terms for any restrictions.

Using Images

This image was created by and is licensed using the creative commons CC BY-SA license . Use of the CC licence symbol on the image provides a visual indicator/ cue to the intent to share.

CC = Creative Commons
BY = Who is the image by ~ Give credit to the creator
SA = Share Alike ~ You agree to share the content forward.

CREDIT: Sharing Open Ideas by, CC BY-SA.

Open Education Resources

Why Open Education Matters by BlinkTower. CC BY-SA

This video is the FIRST place winner in a 2012 contest to create a short video that explains the benefits and promise of Open Educational Resources for teachers, students and schools everywhere. The contest was sponsored by Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Open Society Foundations.

What is Open Source?

Open Source Basics (2014) by Sarah Moyle, Intel Open Source Technology Center.

What is Open Access?

The term Open Access is often used in reference to scholarly journals and academic research and is strongly linked to the movement to make research results and academic papers open and freely accessible.

Open Access (2010) by Canadian Association of Research Libraries. CC BY-NC.

Customizing OER

Open Educational Resources are OPEN!

  • You can use as little or as much as you need.
  • You can revise and customize

Here are some tools to help